woman in wheelchair group of men trying to assist her wheelchair up a step (arrows in red pointing to step) caption 'When accessing places one of the comments I get the most is... 'It's only one step, we can lift your wheelchair so you can get in.'' (l) woman in wheelchair group of men trying to help her up step caption 'Watch in real time as six strong men realize why 'One Step' is a big issue' (c) woman in wheelchair almost on step as men are pushing wheelchair caption 'Accessibility shouldn't look like this And moment like this can be very embarrassing and difficult mentally' (r)

@taylorln93/TikTok

‘Accessibility shouldn’t look like this’: TikToker shows how ‘only one step’ is a major issue for wheelchair users

‘Six strong men realize why that ‘one step’ is a big issue.’

 

Braden Bjella

IRL

While the Americans with Disabilities Act is supposed to ensure that those with disabilities are able to access most establishments in the United States, the reality on the ground is far different.

For years, activists have complained that everything from restaurants to public transit systems fails to meet the standards laid out by the ADA, with many offering harrowing and embarrassing stories of having to deal with inadequate facilities or inability to access places at all.

When hearing these statements, many will counter by saying that some places have workarounds for those with disabilities, or that the issues presented by this lack of facilities are minor. For example, some say that just a single step should be easily surmountable by those with disabilities.

However, even a seemingly minor issue like this can present major problems for wheelchair users, as evidenced by a video that recently went viral on TikTok. 

In the video, user Taylor (@taylorln93) documents her experience getting up a single step, which requires a team of several people.

@taylorln93 When they say… “It’s flat and accessible inside, we can lift you up this one step.” ♿️ #torontobars #londonbars #AccessByTay #taylorln #wheelchair #accessibility #wheelchairaccessible #accessibletravel #quadriplegic ♬ original sound – Taylor LN

“When accessing places one of the comments I get most is… ‘It’s only one step, we can lift your wheelchair so you can get in,’” Taylor wrote in the text overlaying her video. “Watch in real time as six strong men realize why that ‘One Step’ is a big issue.”

The video then shows six men attempting to lift her chair. Eventually, they manage to do it with great effort.

“Accessibility shouldn’t look like this,” Taylor continued in the text overlay. “And moments like this can be very embarrassing and difficult mentally.”

In comments, viewers shared Taylor’s frustration.

“This is not ok,” one user wrote. “I don’t even care if it were easy to pick up, you shouldn’t have to picked up at all.”

“Like how hard is it to put in a ramp? Even if it’s a moveable ramp, literally anything at all,” another added.

“& I know none of those guys are trained to lift a wc with a person in it,” a third shared. “Literally everyone in this situation is in danger – including the chair.”

Others shared their own stories of wheelchair use.

“My sister is in a wheelchair and it’s heartbreaking to see the adjustments she has to make for a world that isn’t accessible to everyone,” a commenter noted. “People don’t realize someone’s chair can be an extension of their bodies and having a bunch of strangers attempting to handle and lift it, shouldn’t be the solution. It’s making yourself so vulnerable and can be so scary, and so is sharing this side of your struggles.”

“Or the whole ‘ring the bell and we will come and bring the ramp’ *bell is broken*,” a second recalled. “I ended up carrying someone in and a staff member said ‘oh we do have a ramp! Just ring the bell’ I said the bell had been broken off the wall, I can’t leave him unattended outside to come and get a staff member!”

Overall, Taylor hopes that this video sheds light on an oft-ignored issue.

As she wrote in a comment, “Hopefully one day we’ll live in an accessible world for all.”

We’ve reached out to Taylor via email.

Update 9:45am CT, June 25: In an email to Daily Dot, Taylor shared the motivation behind starting her TikTok account.

“The idea to start this was when one of my dear friends Veronique was having troubles finding accurate accessibility information online when she was looking for wedding venues,” Taylor said. “I am going to be a part of her wedding party, and she knows the accessibility needs that I have and kept showing up to locations and realizing the information was not accurate. From there, the idea to start documenting accessibility challenges in everyday locations was born. It also stemmed from my desire to get myself out there more and have fun with my friends. So win-win for everyone.”

As far as the video itself is concerned, Taylor hopes viewers understand the importance of having clear information about a building’s accessibility.

“I would want people to understand how important accurate information is about how accessible your location is,” she shared. “This is because oftentimes people who have accessibility needs cannot be as spontaneous as an able-bodied person, so if they are spending days in advance planning an outing only to show up somewhere where they can’t access, it’s detrimental to their time, finances, and mental health. Additionally, I want people to realize that there are little things they can do like having portable ramps, consolidating bathroom sizes to create universal washrooms, and talking to other people with accessibility needs which could help make their locations that much more inclusive for everyone.”


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